Lit Terms

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  1. Allusion
    A reference to something literary, mythological or historical 

    Patrick urged his listeners not to be “betrayed with a kiss.”
  2. Denotation
    The literal meaning of a word

    Although the word “home” may suggest safety and comfort, it’s really simply “one’s residence.”
  3. Connotation 
    The implied or associative meaning of a word

    “Odor” and “fragrance” literally mean the same thing, but good things have fragrance, bad things “odor.” 
  4. Diction
    Having to do with the word choices made by a writer

    Hemingway uses few polysyllabic words; Dickens uses many polysyllabic words. 
  5. Syntax
    The manner in which words are arranged by a writer into sentences

    A single sentence in a Faulkner work can sometimes be longer than an entire page, but Steinbeck tends to use Simpler, shorter sentences.
  6. Tone
    The attitude of the speaker, usually implied,  toward the subject

    Sardonic, apologetic, light-hearted, somber
  7. Colloquialism
    Words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing

    Huck Finn says, “I got the fantods” to describe his nervousness and says “shin” instead of “run”
  8. Euphemism
    An indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant

    In Victorian times, ladies were said to “glisten” rather than to “sweat” or perspire.”
  9. Oxymoron
    An expression in which two words that contradict each other are joined

    Jumbo shrimp, sweet sorrow, little giant 
  10. Anaphora
    The repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences

    “We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves.” 
  11. Analogy
    A comparison between two different things which are similar in some way

    By comparing conducting to politics, Igor Stravinsky helped non- musicians understand his feelings about orchestra conductors.
  12. Invective
    An intensely vehement, highly emotional verbal

    “My opponent is a lying, cheating, immoral bully!” 
  13. Paradox
    An apparently contradictory statement which actually contains truth.

    • Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

    “By indirections find directions out”
  14. Parody
    A humorous imitation of a serious work

    • Spaceballs parodies the space epic genre
    • Thin Thighs in Thirty Years: an exercise book
  15. Aphorism
    A concise statement which express succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance

    “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy, and wise.”
  16. Hyperbole
    Intentional exaggeration to create effect

    There were at least a million people at the mall when I went shopping Saturday
  17. Apostrophe
    The act of speaking directly to an absent or imaginary person, or to some abstraction 

    • “Author to Her Book”
    • “O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?”
  18. Metonymy
    Substituting the name of one object for another object closely associated with it.

    “The White House issued a statement today.”
  19. Didactic
    Something which has as its primary purpose to teach or instruct

    Fables and Parables present morals; Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography shows his readers how to be successful
  20. Litotes
    A type of understatement in which something affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite

    My parents were not overjoyed when I came home three hours past my curfew. 
  21. Extended Metaphor
    A metaphor used consistently through a passage or poem

    “Your bait of falsehood take this carp of truth,/….”
  22. Epizeuxis
    The exact same word or phrase repeated

    • “words, words, words.”
    • “except my life, expect my life”
  23. Synecdoche
    A comparison that employs a part to represent the whole

    •  “all hands on deck”
    • “I have an eye of you”
  24. Chiasmus 
    [ky-AZ-mus],a figure of speech by which the order of the terms in the first of two parallel clauses is reversed in the second.  This may involve a repetition of the same words 

    • "Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure”
    • “Nothing at all; yet all that is I see” 
  25. Pleonasm
    Use of similar or redundant words or syllables,often enriching thought for emphasis.

    • “My soul is full of discord and dismay”
    • “ He walked the entire distance to the station on foot” (“the entire distance and “on foot” are pleonastic; they are used to emphasize the length and difficulty of his walk)
  26. Epanalepsis
    The repetition at the end of a clause of a word or phrase that occurred at its 

    “Blood hath bought, and blows have answer’d blows:/Strength match’d with strength, and power 
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Lit Terms
2012-09-21 15:50:52
Lit Terms

Mrs.Spicer's Lit Terms Test
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